How big-time savers do it
Studies show 5 characteristics of people who manage to follow up on their good intentions to save. Here's what they can teach the rest of us.
If saving more money is one of your goals, you're not alone: In surveys, most Americans list saving as one of their top ambitions. But many don't know how to get started.
Saving more, after all, tends to be a big, general goal, and experts suggest that we are more likely to meet our goals if we break them into small, manageable steps. Bringing lunch to work, for example, can be a step toward reducing weekly food costs. Similarly, being more specific in how you plan to save, whether it's from earning more money or cutting back, can also make it easier to take those small steps.
Successful savers often mention five strategies when asked how they manage to put so much money away
No. 1: They started slowly. Overcoming the initial inertia that prevents many of us from saving can be the hardest step. That's why starting by saving just a small amount can get you on the path toward bigger savings. Nicole Mladic, a 30-something communications director in Chicago, couldn't afford to put away a big chunk of her salary when she was in her mid-20s, so she started saving 2%. A few months later, she raised it to 3%, then went to 4%, and she eventually reached her goal of 10%. Today, her net worth is more than $90,000
No. 2: They read about financial and economic news. A survey by HSBC Direct found that people it calls "active savers," -- about one in five Americans -- tend to pay attention to financial news. That might help keep them generally aware of and savvy about money as well as teach them about basic principles of investing
No. 3: They save regularly, often through automated systems. Online banking makes this technique easy: Sign up for monthly transfers into a brokerage or savings account. You can also transfer funds directly from your paycheck so you never even see the money, which means you won't miss it. Check in with your human resources department -- you might be able to set up an automatic savings account through your employer in addition to your automatic retirement savings
No. 4: They find saving pleasurable. This trait might sound counterintuitive: How can anyone enjoy saving money, since doing so essentially prevents the pleasure of a purchase today? But some people -- especially successful savers -- naturally feel more pleasure while socking money away rather than spending it, since they know they are building financial security and they can spend it someday. If you don't feel this way about saving, you can teach yourself to, by focusing on how much financial security means to you each time you add to your savings accounts
No. 5: They began saving as children. The HSBC survey found that most active savers have been saving money since they were young and that they learned the value of saving from their parents. While adults who didn't receive those lessons can't change the past, they can pass on better lessons to their own children by talking about finances and family budgeting often. Doing so would put them in the minority: A Charles Schwab survey found that only about 20% of parents frequently talk to their teens about family budgeting and spending decisions, and just over half of parents teach their teens how to save regularly
One idea that combines these strategies is to encourage elaborate family discussions about what you will do with all the money you are saving. For example, if your savings goal is to take a family vacation to Belize, children can draw pictures of the rainforest, parents can crunch some numbers, and soon you'll be snorkeling in the coral reefs.
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getting out of debt and eliminating those extra bills Will allow you to save much much more. what good is 1% in a saving account if you are paying 15% on a credit card.
I treat savings as a bill. I dont automatically transfer but I manually transfer so that I am aware of when my bills are paid and how much I have to spend. I dont believe in savings to the point of hoarding because the value of money goes down as costs go up.
I believe in enjoying a bit of your earnings. Without enjoyment your life can become miserable trying to account and hoard every dime. I put 10% of my gross in retirement. 25% after tax in savings. The rest goes to bills with about $500 left for spending as I wish. I think I do well (no kids thank god).
Financial security equals freedom of choice in this great country , choices you do not have without savings . Every investment you make is in your hands -the hours you spend , the money you spend and the energy you expend . Ask yourself are you making wise investments and are they worth the cost ? Regardless of where you are now , if you tap into your inner will and determination you can achieve this freedom . No other man , government or institution can do for you what you can do for yourself . Embrace this fact and search for your answers until you find them . Good luck on your journey , it will remove many self made boundaries .
And, I'm also excessively leery of price tags like $4.99, $495, or $4.50, telling myself they're "five dollars" or "five hundred dollars" or "Woo, 50 cents less than five dollars big deal" rather than "four-ninety-nine" or "four-ninety-five". If the price is at all appealing, I remind myself I'm not a fish.
I'm even wary of discounts; if people only buy at discounts, then culturally, discounts are the normal price and shouldn't be given any extra consideration for it..
So my advice? Don't get emotional and buy, just like you wouldn't drink and drive.
One way that I make sure not to make "instant gratification" purchases is to consider the price and how many hours I would have to work to purchase the item. It is a real deterrent to making the purchase when you realize that it costs you 5 hours or 10 hours of your hard work to have the item! It also makes it real hard to rationalize eating out when you know it will cost 3 hours of your salary to feed your family at a restaurant. Save the money instead!
Unfortunately there is virtually no reward for saving in the present system in America. If you have wealth you will:
1) get to pay for your own kids' college education (think of it as a special tax);
2) you get to buy more insurance for the investments you buy with your savings; the more you own the more it owns you;
3) you get to pay tax on your social security; others don't;
4) you get to pay for your own long-term care; others don't.
In fact, medicaid will come get your principal residence after you die to reclaim the benefits paid on your behalf via super lien priorities.
So, if you have a hefty savings account or perhaps your aging parents do, you should check into getting some elder care planning to preserve their hard earned nest egg and reward them for their lifelong sacrifices.
Meanwhile, people who don't save (think Hawaii vacations - yes that is plural - vacations)
will enjoy their money and qualify for social security (non-taxable) and medicaid benefits while the good lifelong savers get to spend their savings on long-term care.
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